Google has reduced the workforce of contracted employees who participated in a strike

The Alphabet Workers Union—CWA—which represents YouTube Music contractors—claims that Google terminated employees’ contracts after a protracted strike. The impacted group, made up of moderators working for Austin, Texas-based Google contractor Cognizant, was in charge of examining and approving musical content for YouTube Music. A Google representative, Courtenay Mencini, said in an email to The Verge that Cognizant took the choice to cut the staff, stressing that “contracts with our suppliers across the country routinely conclude upon their natural expiry date.”

A group of more than forty people went on strike in February of the previous year to demand modifications to Google’s return-to-work policy. According to the union, many remote workers were making as little as $19 per hour, making office attendance prohibitively expensive. The Verge was notified via email by Cognizant’s Chief Communications Officer, Jeff DeMarrais, that the impacted staff will be compensated for seven weeks and given the chance to look into other positions within the company.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decided in March 2023 that Google qualified as a partial employer because of its control over benefits, work hours, and the direction of the contractors’ tasks. Google had previously argued that negotiations were unnecessary because the workers were not directly employed by Google. Following Google’s appeal of the decision, the NLRB maintained its decision in January of this year. Google still has the right to file an appeal with a federal court.”

This is quite damaging. We’ve been pushing for years for Google, one of the biggest and wealthiest corporations in the world, to start talks with us. Securing just pay for the work we do to improve their products has been our aim. “It is depressing to see Google respond to our small requests for fair treatment at work with this kind of behavior,” contractor and union member Jack Benedict said in a statement. YouTube Music contractors are not the only ones who fight to be taken seriously as employees. CNBC reports that Google has been recognized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) as a partial employer for unionized contractors employed by Accenture on Google Search and the pre-rebranded Bard projects.

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